Age Action calls for increase in pension and home help hours

More than 85,000 people over 65 are living in deprivation, Irish charity says

Age Action wants the abolition of prescription charges for medical card holders, and restoration of the fuel and telephone allowance. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Age Action wants the abolition of prescription charges for medical card holders, and restoration of the fuel and telephone allowance. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

 

The State pension must be increased by €5 in the next budget, Age Action has said.

As part of its Budget 2017 submission, the charity also called for an extra €73.8 million to fund more than four million home-help hours.

It also wants the abolition of prescription charges for medical card holders, and restoration of the fuel and telephone allowance.

Justin Moran of Age Action said in February a State pension increase of €25 over the next five years was promised. “Budget 2017 is the Government’s opportunity to make clear to almost 600,000 people over the age of 65 that the promises made to them will be honoured,” he said.

He said the National Pensions Framework says the State pension should be maintained at 35 per cent of average earnings, to keep pensioners out of poverty, but the State pension is more than €13 below that target.

“More than 85,000 people over . . . 65 are living in deprivation and that . . . is rising,” he said. “Next month the Government can help to restore the incomes of pensioners, cut by successive austerity budgets, stand by its election pledge and deliver.”

He highlighted the need for investment in supports to allow people to stay in their homes longer. Between 2004 and 2013 there was a 44 per cent increase in older people living in nursing homes classified by the HSE as being “low dependency”, he said. And funding for home help services fell from €211 million in 2011 to €185 million last year.